Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Showers of blessing

“I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
- Eze_34:26
Here is sovereign mercy-”I will give them the shower in its season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?-for who can say, “I will give them showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down. Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send them showers.” It does not say, “I will send them drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, he usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we want plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace. Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in his season.” What is thy season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” And here is a varied blessing. “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If he gives converting grace, he will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up to-day, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.
Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening Devotional (Feb. 24 Morning)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Who Will You Choose? ~ A Chance to Die

If a man or woman honestly wishes to be a follower, the opportunity will present itself.  Christ will say, "Here is your chance.  Now, in this situation, you must make your choice.  Will it be self?  Or will you choose Me?"

An older missionary said something to Amy Carmichael when she was a young missionary that stayed with her for life.  She had spoken of something which was not to her liking.  His reply was, "See in it a chance to die."

~ Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp for My Feet


Monday, February 8, 2016

~ Special Annoucement! ~ New Baby! ~

One week ago today, the Lord blessed our family in an amazing way! 

Benjamin Seth Alexander
born on February 1, 2016

He is a beautiful, healthy little boy!  We are thanking the Lord for His gracious, loving hand, as we are welcoming in awe this precious little miracle!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Praise and Thanksgiving ~ Choosing Joy and Peace

"Praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life.  It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith.  It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse fo the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master's service."
- Charles Spurgeon -

"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
- Matthew 14:31b -

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart;
I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee:
I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:
for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion:
declare among the people his doings.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; …
That I may shew forth all thy praise 
in the gates of the daughter of Zion:
I will rejoice in thy salvation.”
~ taken from Psalm 9 ~
This morning as I was studying and meditating on God's word, I was so convicted as I read.  Just in Psalms alone we are told over and over to praise the Lord, to thank the Lord, to sing to the Lord, to rejoice in the Lord, to declare His name.  Our Lord has blessed us beyond words.  His saving grace towards His children and all His benefits to us to innumerable!  As Christians, we have no reason to be down cast.  We have every reason to be full of joy and praising His name at all times.  Truly, how can we not be full of joy?! May the Lord forgive us for the times when we take our eyes off of Him - for this is when we lose our joy and peace.

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
- Proverbs 23:7a -

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee."
- Isaiah 26:3 -
Joy is a choice.  Peace is a choice.  It is all in where we choose to focus - where we choose to put our minds.  And we must remember that:

"Ye are of God, little children,
and have overcome them:
because greater is he that is in you,
than he that is in the world."
~ 1 John 4:4 ~

Let us choose to set our minds on praising and thanking our Lord, to have joy and peace in Him, and to declare His wonderful name and amazing works.  As we look to His word and think on Him and all He has done, who can help but not praise and thank Him with a joyful heart?
May ye each have a wonderful weekend, and be encouraged and refreshed spiritually!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thoughts on Discouraging Circumstances

Recently I have been struggling with discouragement.  I share this not to complain, but because I would like to share how the Lord is helping me to battle against it.  If we as Christians always "look like we've got it all together" we will never be an encouragement to others and we will hinder ourselves from honest transparency and growth.
The other morning when I was really feeling discouraged, the Lord brought to my mind that I need to speak His truth to myself.  I don't need to focus on the circumstances - I need to focus on truth, on God's word, on His commands, on His promises.  So, praying for help and guidance, I started studying.
The first thing I did was start with scriptural commands that applied to me: 

Scriptural Commands:
Do not fear
Do not be anxious
Trust Him

Sometimes we forget what God has commanded.  by being fearful and anxious I am in disobedience to Him.  That's not where I want to be!
Next, I started looking for passages of scripture that applied to what I was struggling with.
The Lord directed my steps to this passage in Numbers.  Once I found this passage, I started thinking on application.  Here is the passage, and my thoughts on it.   

"And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people."
- Numbers 21:4-7 -

The people were discouraged because of the difficulty of the way they were called to walk.  Because of this discouragement they began to complain and speak against the Lord and the man God had appointed to lead them.  The Lord punished them severely for their attitude.
When things get hard we must:
- Make sure we are in the way God has called and that we are following the leadership and guidelines He has placed before us.  Sometimes difficulty comes when we are walking in disobedience.  I must make sure I am not creating my own cross.
- When things get difficult, don’t look at the circumstances.  We must keep the end goal in mind.  We are pilgrims being called to another realm.  The temporal is only a tool and means in His hand.
- Do not lose heart.  Speak truth to yourself.  My greatest fears come not from reality but from what I imagine could happen.  Fear comes from the “what if” and the “how is this going to work?”  God didn’t give the children of Israel a detailed plan for getting out of Egypt to living in the promised land.  He just guided them step by step..  I must be willing to just follow His leading step by step.
- Do not complain.  We must not grumble against the way the Lord is leading us.  Everything is part of His plan, so we must take it patiently as that.  We must have faith, trust, and obey.  We must choose to be thankful for His plan and for His guidance.  We must refuse to complain because of difficulty or uncertainty.  This will keep us from becoming blinded by discouragement.
- If I have sinned by not walking in the way God would have for me, by not obeying the guidance He has given me, or by complaining against how He is working, I must confess this and repent of it.  I must turn my heart, and ask the Lord to turn my heart, to thankfulness and trust.  Start speaking the truths of God’s word to your heart and thanking Him for the ways He is working in the circumstances in your life for your sanctification.

 I was so thankful for how the Lord directed me during this time, and am continuing to study His word for truth to use.  The battle is not over, but He has given me weapons to fight with, and by His grace I am seeking to win each battle as it comes.  I hope that as I've shared this that it has been at least a small encouragement to some.  The Lord is always with us - closer than any battle we are fighting - and with Him we can always win!
 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
- 1 John 5:4 -